My son is my anchor. Now in my old age I anchor myself to my son. He is my flesh and blood. I love him most of all in all the world, though love is not a competition. Today my son has left the country: But not for long. He has crossed the border into England for twenty-four hours, but just the thought of it, for a moment, caused me to feel alone, without my anchor in life. It made me realise again how much he is my anchor. He is always there, a constant presence in my life, and he is always there, just three miles up the road from where I live. He is my comfort. I rely on him. I am blessed to have him living so close to me, and actively keeping his eye on me. He is my anchor.
In earlier days my mother and father were my anchor in life, and even though I was separated from them from the age of eleven, gone into a seminary, they were still and always my anchor in life. I knew they were there for me. They loved me completely. My life was safe and snug because of the love I knew. For as long as they were in the world, I always had an anchor, that strong chord that assured me in whatever storms of life may be, they would not desert me.
A new anchor came into my life when I met and married Margaret. In my mind I thought I had cracked it for life. Being older than her, I thought I would have her by my side until the last day came. But it was not to be. Ill health intervened and Margaret’s life was cut short. My grief in losing her caused me to feel unsteady and alone in this world, but even then I knew that my son was around. As life settled down once more I came to realise that I was not without an anchor. My son was here.
Many people have no anchor in life, no one who is close to them, no one whose love is there and always guaranteed. Lemn Sissay always comes to mind in this regard. Born and brought up very close to my own native heath, he spent his childhood in children’s homes and foster care, unhappily. He has grown into a fine person and his writing and poetry powerfully describe the experience of being alone in this world.
Today’s gospel is the story of the Good Samaritan. Its lesson is that we have a duty to become good neighbours to all whom we meet on the road of life, and especially those who have fallen on hard times. To be a good neighbour to others is to be an anchor, someone that others can rely on and look to for support.
Those of us who have always known an anchor in life are well placed to be anchors ourselves. Love is such a powerful force. It causes us to grow and to be able to share our ability to love with those who have never known it.
3 October 2022